Monday October 21, 2019
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US Supports Israel in a Cease-Fire with Palestinian Militants

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the army to keep up "massive strikes" against Hamas targets in Gaza in the deadliest fighting along the border in five years

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Artillery shelling could be heard on Sunday coming from southern outskirts of the capital, where the LNA has been tying to breach defenses by Tripoli forces. VOA

Palestinian officials say a cease-fire with Israel has been agreed to by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The Reuters news agency reports the agreement, reached with the help of Egyptian mediation, was to take effect at 01:30 UTC.

An exchange of rocket fire and airstrikes has killed four Israeli civilians and at least 20 Palestinians since Friday. These are the first Israeli civilian deaths from cross-border fighting since 2014.

President Donald Trump says the United States supports Israel 100% as it defends its citizens from Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza. “To the Gazan people — these terrorist acts against Israel will bring you nothing but more misery. End the violence and work toward peace — it can happen,” Trump tweeted Sunday.

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Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike in Gaza, May 5, 2019. VOA

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the army to keep up “massive strikes” against Hamas targets in Gaza in the deadliest fighting along the border in five years. Palestinian deaths include a 14-month-old baby and her aunt killed by what Hamas calls an Israeli strike. Israeli intelligence says a misfired Palestinian rocket killed them. Neither claim could be verified.

Palestinian militants have shot more than 600 rockets and other missiles into Israel since Friday. Israel says the smaller military group Islamic Jihad fired the rockets, but it holds Hamas, which controls Gaza, responsible. The Israeli military says it retaliated with airstrikes on more than 260 Hamas targets inside Gaza.

An Israeli airstrike also killed a Hamas commander, who Israel says was responsible for funneling money from Iran to the militants. The current fighting was apparently sparked when an Islamic Jihad sniper wounded two Israeli soldiers Friday.

The Palestinians accuse Israel of failing to implement an Egyptian-brokered agreement to ease its blockade of Gaza in exchange for a halt in rocket attacks.

palestinian militants, israel
President Donald Trump says the United States supports Israel 100% as it defends its citizens from Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza. VOA

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh issued a statement late Sunday saying his militant group is “not interested in a new war” and says he is ready “to return to the state of calm” if Israel “immediately starts implementing understandings about a dignified life.”

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Israeli analyst Neri Zibler told I24 News that Netanyahu does not want a war with Hamas either. “The greater good is to avoid needless wars. A war that you get into, you do not know how you will get out of it. A war that you go into and will most likely reach a conclusion and bring us back to the exact point we are in at the moment,” he said.

A 50-day war between Israel and Hamas in 2014 killed more than 2,200 Palestinians and left entire neighborhoods in ruins. The latest fighting comes on the eve of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and as Israel gets ready for Independence Day celebrations later this week. Israel also hosts the eagerly awaited annual Eurovision song contest in Tel Aviv later this month. (VOA)

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US: Infections from Three Sexually Transmitted Diseases Hit New Highs for Fifth Consecutive Year

The infection rate rose 3 percent from 2017

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US, Infections, Sexually
FILE - A billboard above a gas station, April 1, 2016, promotes testing for sexually transmitted diseases. VOA

U.S. infections from three sexually transmitted diseases have risen for the fifth consecutive year. US.

More than 1.7 million cases of chlamydia (kluh-MID’-ee-uh) were reported last year. The infection rate rose 3 percent from 2017.

It’s the most ever reported in a year, though the trend is mainly attributed to increased testing.

About 580,000 gonorrhea (gah-nuh-REE’-uh) cases were reported. That’s the highest number since 1991. The rate rose 5 percent. Scientists worry antibiotic resistance may be a factor.

US, Infections, Sexually
More than 1.7 million cases of chlamydia (kluh-MID’-ee-uh) were reported last year. Pixabay

And the syphilis rate rose 15 percent. About 35,000 cases of the most contagious forms of the disease were reported — also the most since 1991.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the numbers Tuesday.

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The increases coincided with public health funding cuts and clinic closures. (VOA)